Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the November 2011 Parish Council Meeting
[Draft Minutes - to be confirmed at next Meeting]

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 28th November 2011 at 7.30 p.m.

Present:                                  Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.

                                               Councillors: A. Carroll, J.Grey, A.Howard,

                                               M. James, P. Oakeshott , L.Pearton,

                                               B. Sutherland,  and  S.Wright.

In attendance:                        Cllr.Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Mayor of Gravesham) and the 

                                               Mayoress Manveen Kaur Dhesi.

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

                                               10 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:          Received from Cllrs. Ashby and Mendzil.

                                               PC Gemma Pawley, PCSO Rob Meader.

                                               Clive Stanley. 

                                                                          

The Chairman welcomed the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

There were no inspection reports for Parish property and amenities.

 

The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday,10th October 2011, were confirmed and signed

 

Matters arising from the Minutes.

Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-

  1. P. 1024 Matters Arising. Concealed entrance signs. Kent Highway Services was unable to provide road markings but was willing to meet on site to discuss other options. Cllr. Sutherland agreed to attend on behalf of the Parish Council.
  2. P. 1024 Matters Arising. Broken bollard. Cllr. Grey had attended a site meeting with Tony Atherton and it was hoped that the broken post could be replaced before Christmas.
  3. P. 1024 Parishioners’ Matters. All the missing street name signs had now been reported to Rob Bright at the Borough Council.
  4. P. 1025. County. Kent Highway Services was willing to meet on site to discuss the need for passing places. It was agreed that Cllrs. James and Grey would attend the Meeting.
  5. P. 1025. County. It had now been confirmed that there were no plans to install a ticket machine at Higham Station.
  6. P. 1025. County. The extensive road patching to the Lower Rochester Road was the forerunner for more extensive road repairs next year in the better weather.
  7. P. 1026. The Army had now confirmed that it was unable to help with the restoration of the old village pond. A Parishioner suggested contacting JCB to see if they might be able to help.
  8. P. 1028. A list of salt bins in the Parish had been sent to all Members.
  9. Web site report.  During the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 39,373 visitors to the Parish website with 3416 visits in October alone.   

 

Cllr. James reported that the hedge to the Three Crutches PH still required cutting back and continued to obscure the road sign (P. 1026 of the minutes refers). He observed that this problem had first been reported in the minutes of the meeting of 17th April 2000 and despite suggestions that the Three Crutches P.H. should be asked to carry out the work it was still outstanding.

 

Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Smith enquired why the cycle lane outside Gads Hill had been suspended. The Chairman explained that this was to protect both the cyclists using the lane and those motorists emerging from the front drive at Gads Hill where a temporary car park had been created in the Rose Garden. She reminded those present that the barriers would be in place for the duration of the building works at the school.

Mr Williams enquired what would be the criteria for the installation of double yellow lines in the village. Following discussion two areas of concern were highlighted namely the top of Forge Lane and the Gardeners Arms corner. Cllr. Craske agreed to speak to the Borough Council and report back at the next Meeting.

Mr Croker reported that most street lights in the village were now on all night and queried if this was really necessary. Cllr. Snelling agreed to send a link to a KCC paper on Street Lighting and suggested a discussion at a future date.  

2012 Celebrations.

The Clerk reported that the Higham Scouts had succeeded in raising about £4000 with their Village Raffle. The contract for the Firework Display had now been signed and a deposit paid. Several Meetings of the 2012 Committee had taken place and alterations were being made to the timetable of events. The Chairman and Clerk had attended the Big Screen Meeting. The event would now be a Community Fun Day run in conjunction with the school PTA which would be the charity to benefit from the day. The Primary School had kindly offered the school field for car parking for the event. It had just been announced that the Olympic Torch Relay would pass through Higham on its way to Gravesend on 20/7/12  and  an invitation had been extended to attend a meeting at the Borough Council on 30/11 to find out more information.

 

Local Development Framework consultation.

The Clerk reported that posters were on display throughout the village and template letters were available in the Post Office for Parishioners to complete and send to the Borough Council. All documents were currently being displayed on the website. The Consultation period had now been extended to 22nd December due to the huge interest.  David Mead reported that a local Action Group had now been formed from the residents of Taylors Lane, High View and Vicarage Row. The Group would be producing a letter dealing with site specific issues and encouraging local residents to make their own representations.

  

To request copy material for the 2012 Annual Newsletter.

The Clerk reminded Members to produce copy material for the 2012 newsletter in time for the next Meeting.

 

Councillors’ Matters.

County.

Cllr. Snelling reported that a recent Court ruling had paved the way for the return of the Icelandic Bank deposits in full. Savings of about £50 million for the financial year 2012-2013 had almost been identified and then attention would turn to the £80 million savings needed for 2013-2014. Discussions were continuing on how Youth Services and Libraries could be reshaped in the Borough. The planned increase in toll charges at the Dartford Crossing had been deferred for the present time.

 

Borough.

Cllr. Craske reported that the planning application submitted by Cascade for the land opposite the Railway Tavern had been refused unanimously by the Regulatory Board. He was grateful to the large number of Parishioners who had attended the Meeting. Improvements to the junction of Crutches Lane with the A226, planned for next Summer, would now be put on hold until after the Olympic Torch Relay.

 

Parish.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the PCSO had discovered that there had been evidence of underage drinking in the Youth Shelter to the Recreation Ground and parents had been notified. It was hoped that elderly Parishioners might be encouraged to apply for accommodation at the recently completed Watling Court in Valley Drive (Abbeyfield Housing).

Cllr. Grey reminded Members that the Rural Housing Meeting, to look at the applications for the part -own properties at The Chequers, was still outstanding. He reported that those tenants waiting to move into the development had already been given several different moving in dates. The new times for the CPZ had still not been advertised. A complaint had been received that the tall chestnut trees to Steadman Close were causing problems with television reception in the area.

 

Reports.

 

a.    Planning.

      Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-

   

Appln. No 20110875   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for approval of condition 2 attached to approval of conditions reference number 20110405 relating to the external lighting Environmental Impact Assessment.

Appln. No. 20110918   36, School Lane.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form a sitting room and a dining room.

Appln. No. 20110904   12, Walmers Avenue.

Application for renewal of planning application reference number 20081067 for demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a detached part single and part two storey, four bedroom dwelling.

Appln. No. 20110935   Rear of Hilary Cottage, Hermitage Road.

Application for variation of condition 4 attached to planning permission reference number 20050483 for installation of a room at mezzanine floor level to provide a rest room for overnight horse husbandry accommodation; to allow the rest room to be used for no more than three consecutive nights up to a maximum of five nights a week.

Appln. No. 20110955   Cherrydene, Dillywood Lane.

Erection of two storey rear and single storey side extension to form a study, enlarged dining room and utility room at ground floor level with bedroom and ensuite bathroom/wc at first floor level.

 

h.     Governors of Higham School.

        Cllr. James reported that a recent visit by Ofsted had awarded the school a Satisfactory (but improving) status as many aspects had been noted as being Good. Since the appointment of the Headteacher just over two years ago, attendance  had improved significantly and behaviour was good. The Governing Body had been commended for helping to guide the school through the earlier period of turbulence and uncertainty and for being sensitive to the needs of the community it served. 

 

j.      Higham Youth Club.

        Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Club remained concerned regarding the provision of back up from the police who had not visited the club recently.

 

m.    PACT.

        Peter Leakey reported that the Speedwatch Team had monitored the speed of traffic travelling down School Lane from outside Vicarage Row. The top speed recorded had been 43 mph. The exercise would be repeated on 10/12 from outside Alexander Cottages. The next PACT Meeting would take place on 6/12.

 

n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported  that approximately 40 people had attended the recent Drug Awareness Meeting and it was hoped that it would be repeated in 2012. Four counts of fly tipping and three litter picks had been arranged for Old Watling Street. He had inspected the gate to the woods opposite Hollytree Drive and found it to be covered with barbed wire. It was agreed to refer this matter to Shorne Parish Council. Parents parking on the A226 opposite Gads Hill School had claimed that the school had told them that it was in order to do so. He had met with Mark Lamb who had been coordinating traffic/parking on behalf of the school.

 

o.    Kent Police.

       The Clerk reported that PC Gemma Pawley would shortly be leaving the village to take up a new position within Medway. Cllr. James confirmed that he would be attending the Rural Forum on 30/11 which would deal with the subject of Policing in the Rural Area.  

 

Finance.

The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all Members.

 

B.T.Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                        117.90

Mr M. Allen (snow shovels)                                                                                           48.00

KALC (lunch for AGM – S137/139)                                                                               10.00

Clerk (additional salt containers and rock salt)                                                                159.88

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman’s allowance)                                                              160.00

Higham with Merston PCC (church Christmas leaflet – S137/139)                                   90.00

Michael Papadopulos (Higham Christmas cards)                                                             32.97

Clerk (2 additional Christmas lights and suckers)                                                             52.50      

 

Report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting held on 14th November 2011.

Copies of the report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr. Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Carroll  and agreed by all Members that a precept of £35,181.66  be requested for the financial year 2012/2013.

 

Internal Control and Audit System.

At the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Members had reviewed the effectiveness of the current system of internal control and audit as required under Regulations 4 and 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2003) and found it to be satisfactory. Members therefore unanimously agreed that no changes were necessary at the present time.

 

Correspondence.

The correspondence folder had been available for perusal by all Members from 7.00 p.m. on that evening , but the Clerk drew Members’ attention to the following items:-

  1. Members noted the receipt of a letter from DHA Planning.
  2. Members noted the submission of the Lodge Hill Outline Planning Application.
  3. Members agreed to the use of the Recreation Ground for a dog show on 4/6/12.
  4. Members noted that hard copies of plans would continue to be sent to the Parish Council by Gravesham Borough Council.
  5. Members agreed to award a grant of £50 to Barrie Howes for his forthcoming trek to Everest on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 9th January 2012 at 7.30 p.m.

 

Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.

The Mayor thanked Members of the Parish Council for their invitation to the Meeting which he had found to be most informative. He was delighted that the eyes of the world media would be on Higham for both the Dickens Bi-Centenary celebrations and the Olympic Torch Relay. He reiterated his Mayoral theme of integration.

 

There being no other business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 8.50 p.m. and invited those present to her home for some seasonal refreshment.

 

    

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